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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The End


"In the beginning God." That is how the Bible record begins. But how does it end? What is the great difference between those opening words and the completed purpose of God so far as the revelation tells us? In the concluding chapters we read:

"'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them." (Rev. 21:3).

Everything began with God in whom is all power, all life and the source of all created things. We have learned as we have passed through the Bible together that not only is God ever-existent and utterly self-sufficient, but He is eternally the same. The qualities of character which are in God are unchanging both in kind and in degree. God is always love, righteousness, truth, merciful, forgiving. These everlasting virtues in the eternal Being are what the Bible reveals to us as God, the immortal King, whose will alone will finally succeed.

When man was given the choice between being like God or following his own will he chose himself and denied his God. The rebellion of the creature against the Creator, the servant against the Master, darkness against light, ingratitude against boundless love, brought six thousand years of tragedy into the world. For that long period God, the all beautiful and all righteous, and sinful man, the dying mixture of sin and striving, have existed together. This could not last forever. Why not? Because it would have been an everlasting, uncorrected contradiction of what God is -- an eternal lie which truth had not overcome.

Death which came into the world when man sinned was the break, the limit placed upon man's escape from the only true and honourable service, that of the worship of God.

But death cannot be here forever. It too is a contradiction of God's very nature -- life everlasting. Therefore, the work of the last six thousand years in God's purpose and will has been to bring about an honourable end to the rebellion of man, to abolish sin and death. This work could have been done easily and in a split second. At the moment when Adam and Eve stood guilty before God with their sinfulness fully revealed, then God might have withdrawn life from them and thereby brought an effective end to the rebellion by the death of the rebels.

The wonder of God's plan is not that He will destroy sin and death but that in the very process He will save from His creation a redeemed people for eternity. The eventual purpose of God will thus be completed. This is what God had designed from the very beginning. This is how the Bible puts it:

"As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with my glory." (Numbers 14:21).

"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:18).

"All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee: they shall sing unto thy name." (Psalm 66:4).

"All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's and He is the governor among the nations." (Psalm 22:27-28).

"Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18).

"Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity . . . " (Psalm 32:1-2).

"For evil doers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it." (Psalm 37:9-11, 34).

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5).

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteouness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8).

"Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8, 9).

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (Revelation 5:9).

These are an outline of the declared, redemptive purpose of God. Out of the misery of human rebellion God has rescued a multitude for Himself. Despite the waywardness, indifference or careless neglect of the majority of men, the word of God has been calling in the darkness and has enlightened those who would receive it. At the center of this work, the hub around which all has moved, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Deliverer, the Saviour.

He was God's answer to Sin and Death. In Him the rightness and righteousness of God were revealed: He was the obedience which Adam failed to give, the perfect Servant and Son to the heavenly Father and God. He understood the wisdom of God and made it known to man. He put God at the center and head of Creation. He knew that the ages of man since Eden has been working to the one end, the final day when God alone would be King in the earth, when the kingdom of God would be established on earth as surely as His will is done in heaven by the angels.

"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." [Matthew 6:10].

It was therefore right and fitting that in Jesus the Righteous One, in whom was no rebellion against the will of God, life should be manifest instead of death. It was for this reason that although His obedience brought Him to death on the cross yet on the third day He arose to immortality and everlasting joy.

"Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance." (Acts 2:28).

"God's own purpose and grace . . . is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Tim. 1:9-10).

In Jesus therefore all the purpose of God -- which He had in mind from the beginning -- is to be gathered up and accomplished. All history is shaped to that end. Nothing that man can do can now set aside this ultimate end when all who have been redeemed by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit eternal life and glory with Christ on this earth.

"According to the working of his (God's) mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet . . . " (Eph. 1:19-22),

"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18).

Thus while Jesus is now in heaven the purpose of God is forging ahead both in shaping history to the moment of Christ's second coming and in preparing a people ready for that day. "Loving the appearing" of Jesus is how Paul described the frame of mind of the true believers. Watching and being ready is how Jesus put it. We can be sure of one thing: only the redeemed will live for ever. Where do you stand in relation to this eternal purpose of God? Have you renounced the way of self-love, self-determination, self-seeking? Have you embraced the way of life in Jesus? There is no other way of life: every other way ends in death. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death." [Proverbs 14:12; 16:25].

Wise men are prepared for the day of Christ's return. Live now as though they truly believed in the personal return of Christ and really wanted the thousand years' kingdom to come.

But even the thousand years' kingdom will come to an end. Not every mortal man who lives then will live forever. Only those who have loved and been willingly obedient during the kingdom reign of Jesus will at the second judgment day (the one at the end of the thousand years and arranged specially to judge those mortal people who have lived during that time) receive the gift of eternal life, immortality with Christ and with those who were blessed with immortality at the first judgment day.

What then? Why then the disgrace of Eden is blotted out and death is destroyed. Those who are rejected at the second judgment seat will be united with those who were rejected at the first in everlasting death. It follows that only persons then alive will be the immortal saints of God. Death will have been abolished and there will be no more sin. Thus will the wisdom of God have accomplished that which creation was designed for:

"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).

When this moment has arrived, when the whole earth is singing with joy and every sign and effect of sin has gone for ever, when every tear is dry and every sorrow gone, when the last death has taken place and only the redeemed remain eternally with Christ their Lord and Redeemer, then comes the accomplishment, the time of complete fulfilment --

"And when all things shall be subdued unto him (God) then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:28).

God everywhere and in everything is the day of uninterrupted and endless joy. Then shall God who was in the beginning take with Him into the peace of endless ages Christ and His Bride, the faultless Son and the redeemed Daughter, the Greater Adam and the New Eve of the Creation of God.


Questions on Letter 24 (answers)

1. How does the word of God begin and end?

2. Does God ever change?

3. How did death come into the world?

4. What is the plan and purpose of God with man and the earth?

5. Who is the center of this plan and purpose?

6. What is the only way to life?

7. How do we prepare to meet Christ?

8. How long will Christ's reign last?

9. What will happen to those rejected at Christ's judgment seat?

10. What will happen to those accepted at Christ's judgment seat?